It is no secret that running an event takes a serious knack to master. While the process might be stressful for some, others find a passion for it and become event planners. Those are the people you want to have in your corner if possible, but what do you do when you do not know anyone who has a real knack for the event planning process?
Whether event planning is new to you, or if you’re tired of putting on event after event and stressing out over every little detail, hiring an event planner can save you time, energy, and – with the right connections – plenty of money.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with the amount of effort it takes to plan an event, you might take a look online and find several planners in the area. It is at this time when you start asking yourself what makes a good event planner, and, “how do I choose an event planner?”
In this article, the team at Anticipation Events, a full-service event planning company in Chicago, will teach you everything you need to know about choosing an event planner, what questions you should ask during the opening interview, and how you know they are the right fit for your event, whether it’s corporate or personal.
Why Hire an Event Planner?
Hiring an event planner is no small task, but it is a lot less stress, time, and energy than planning the event yourself.  For many people, saving time and energy is not enough of a reason to hire a planner, and they burn themselves out on the process trying to do it all themselves. Luckily, there are plenty of reasons why you would want to hire an event planner that is much more tangible.
- Expertise You Can Trust
Instead of asking yourself, “how do I choose an event planner?” a good question to ask is instead, “which event planner is the more experienced?”
Experience begets expertise in any industry, and event planning is not exempt from this truth. An event planner relies on her business’s reputation to continue working. Between good decision-making and experience, the better reputation their business will have.
- Negotiation Skills with Vendors
Professional event planners have many advantages over those who have never run an event before in their lives, the first of which is insurance.
The second advantage is a strong network of local vendors and venues that they can negotiate with. These vendors and venues are used to negotiating with this event planner, they are familiar with the way the planner likes to work, and they can extend better offers because they know that the better deal they make for the planner, the more bookings they’ll get from the planner in the future.
“Professional planning firms have a network of vendors and venues that they frequently work with. Having these resources at their disposal allows them to complete tasks quickly.”
Likewise, not all vendors or venues are happy to accommodate your event so readily. Luckily, the event planner has experience in negotiating with these connections. If a certain vendor is booked over the week of your event, they might be able to negotiate services ahead of time and make the time work, or they might be able to find another vendor that suits the needs of your event. Whatever needs to be done to make your event run smoothly will be done.
- Post-Event Cleaning
Let’s face it. No one wants to clean up after an event, especially if you are off the clock or it is a big personal celebration. After all, you want to join in on the guests’ fun, too!
Whether you are planning a wedding or corporate event, hiring a cleaning service often goes forgotten and the task is left up to the event coordinator. An event planner will make sure that the event is cleaned up afterward, keeping the venue happy and ensuring you receive your security deposit back.
- Out-of-the-Box Ideas
An event planner can bring ideas to the table that you might not have thought of on your own. They have the experience and creativity to work with vendors in the area to supply activities that keep guests engaged throughout the event.
How do I Choose an Event Planner for My Event?
At first, choosing the right event planner for your event can feel overwhelming. There might be a lot of choices for your area, but luckily, there is a process that can help you choose.
The best event planner will have plenty of testimonials and positive customer reviews to share upon request. Once you have found an event planner who looks trustworthy, it’s time to do a little digging into what services they offer and what their typical event process looks like:
Services Match Your Needs
First thing first: do they offer the services you need? If you are planning a wedding, you don’t want to hire a corporate event manager. Often, individual event planners will specialize in a particular type of event to keep their portfolio clean.
Event planning teams, on the other hand, will offer a variety of services for all of your event planning needs, as they have the specialists available and can work around your schedule more easily than an individual can.
Price Fits Your Budget
Every professional service comes at a price, including event planning. The event planner will charge a fee on top of the event budget. The event budget covers the venue, the vendors, any decorations, catering, and event activities that guests will enjoy. The event planner’s fee will cover the time and energy they spend negotiating with vendors, securing a venue, and working with you to create the perfect event.
Personality Suits Your Own
Above all else, it is important that you get along with the event planner and can work with them in a professional setting. Your event planner will need to be in contact with you throughout the planning and post-event process to ensure everyone goes smoothly. If their work ethic or personality does not mesh with yours, it will be difficult to coordinate details of the event together.
What Questions Should I Ask an Event Planner?
When you first talk to your event planner, there are a few key questions you should ask them. Likewise, they should have questions for you. A good event planner will want to learn about your event objectives, the budget they are working with, and what they are expected to do. 
“You should then ask each finalist or firm about their business, their experience with past events, and how they plan for contingencies. A good planner will walk you through a discussion about your event's overall objectives, timeline, budget, guest count, and personal preferences, and also ask questions about your organization.”
-- Rob Hard
Depending on the event and the event planner, you may have additional questions to ask. It is important to have all of your questions answered before hiring them so you know what to expect when working with the event planner.
Your event planner is not going to assume you know everything there is about event planning, so feel free to ask anything that comes to mind about the process, the event, and their work ethics.
What Experience Do You Have?
Asking for their relevant experience is a practical question to ask. Your event planner should be up-front with you if they have never worked with your type of event before, and you should be able to ask for portfolio examples of events like yours. The event planner may have an all-inclusive portfolio that showcases some or all of the events they have worked on, or they may have a specialized portfolio for certain themes or events.
How Much Do You Charge?
Money is an awkward subject for a lot of people, but it is a necessary question to ask. Your event planner will need to charge a fee for their time and services on top of the event budget. Both numbers are important, as the event planner will need to know the event budget they are working with, and how many hours they can reliably spend on the event to keep their business running.
How Often Will We Be in Communication?
Some event planners like to be in contact with their clients every day, while others work best with weekly check-ins so they can focus on searching for the perfect venue or working with the caterer on the best menu items. Asking how often you can expect to be in communication with your event planner – and what method of communication is best – will help you understand what to expect.
Contact Anticipation Events today to see how we can make your event special.